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Braised shank of smoked Roe deer, celeriac and rooster mash, glazed baby beets, barley and thyme roast juices By George McIvor

Method

  1. Salt shanks and set aside.
  2. In a shallow pot with a lid (a Dutch oven will do), put spices and herbs in with the wine and molasses. If your bacon had the rind on it, put that in, too. Turn the heat to medium-low.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees C.
  4. Pour olive oil into a second pan set over medium heat. Fry the bacon slowly, turning all sides to get crispy. As each piece crispifies, toss it into the pot with the wine. Do not let the wine pot go past a gentle simmer. When the bacon is done, brown the shanks on all sides except the one with the bone; this helps the shank stay together after long cooking. Take your time on this one, and do this over medium heat. It could take 20 minutes. Move the shanks to the wine pot, bone side sticking up.
  5. Put the onions in the other pan and turn the heat up to high. Toss to combine. You will notice the onions will deglaze the pan. After about 5 minutes like this, add the garlic and toss to combine. Continue cooking until you hear the sound change: That’s onions losing enough moisture to begin browning. Cook another minute or two. Pour in the stock and mix it well with the onions. Bring to a furious boil and make sure you’ scraped everything off the bottom of the pan. Add to the wine pot, mixing in with all the other ingredients. Make sure the shanks are still bone side up.
  6. Cover and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours. Venison, being wild, is difficult to gauge doneness — you might have shot an old deer, or a yearling. Each will require different cooking times. When the meat is almost falling off the bone, remove it gently and tent it with foil. Fish out the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and as many cloves, peppercorns, allspice and juniper berries as you can in a few minutes. It’s OK if you don’t get them all. Pass the jus through a very fine sieve or Tammy cloth and then serve over the shanks
  7. Glazed baby beets: In a large sauté pan, add the beets and the apricot juice. Cover and cook on medium high for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and honey and cook for another 10 minutes. Pull off of the heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Rooster and Celeriac mash: Peel and roughly chop celeriac and Rooster potatoes and put in a pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Drain and mash either with a potato masher or by whizzing quickly in a food processor. Heat double cream and milk and beat into the mash over a low heat. Season well with salt and ground black pepper.